See the News & Observer article showing that the legislative approach is shifting. We will soon be calling on you for more help opposing the Annual Rate Hike Bill. Below is a summary of the hearing yesterday.
Duke CEO’s True Colors Exposed at Nuclear Hearing
Jim Rogers is all nukes, coal and corporate muscle – with puny clean energy through 2030
Statement by Jim Warren, Executive Director
DURHAM, NC – Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers keeps talking a good game about pursuing “a mix” of electricity technologies, but yesterday’s hearing at the NC Utilities Commission again exposed that as a public relations facade. The daylong hearing was draped with the question of whether Duke’s stockholders or customers should bear the prodigious financial risks for constructing two nuclear reactors. And Rogers insisted that although Japan’s nuclear crisis could be a “game changer,” new nuclear plants are the only option for the Carolinas. Below are a few highlights.*
- Rogers claimed under oath that Duke could not raise rates for the $459 million in predevelopment costs for nearly three years. He backed off that assertion after NC WARN attorney John Runkle read him the statute and the attorney general’s representative asked Rogers, “You didn’t mean to misstate that, did you?” Duke plans to file for a rate hike in June. Look for inclusion of predevelopment costs.
- Rogers admitted that construction cost overruns could occur for many reasons, thus he refused to consider a cap on costs passed to customers.
- Weeks ago, former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford had declared the US nuclear renaissance “in shambles.” Tuesday he testified that the Japan crisis will cause even more delays and cost overruns.
- Rogers twice claimed that “North Carolina doesn’t have any wind [energy potential],” apparently ignorant that two 2010 national studies show the state leads the East Coast in off-shore wind power capacity. Rogers later boasted of Duke’s $1.7 billion wind investments; those are in states with competitive power markets. Here, he wants annual rate hikes for nuclear plants.
- A Duke VP testified that Duke plans to build over 7,000 megawatts in new nuclear, coal and gas generation by 2030. Under cross examination by Runkle, she admitted Duke plans only 56 MW of solar – two-tenths of 1% of generation – under 2% energy efficiency, and almost no wind power.
- Bradford stated later that despite Duke’s key PR claim, NC legislation currently being pushed by hordes of utility lobbyists would not save customers money.
- Duke’s nuclear VP greeted the Commission by thanking its Public Staff for supporting the Lee nuclear request – support which long preceded any debate or filings by opponents.
- Preceding the evidentiary hearing, a host of public witnesses provided sparkling testimony, with several imploring the Commission to rise above the utilities’ long-running political control over state government and help steer this state into joining a growing, jobs-producing clean energy revolution.*
It remains tragic that despite a roaring climate crisis, now coupled with a nuclear disaster of unknown destination, North Carolina remains constrained against even attempting to ramp up energy efficiency, wind and solar – thus allowing closure of coal plants – all because of the nuclear dreams and anti-democratic influence of Jim Rogers and Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson.
* All testimonies will soon be available at NCUC LEE NUCLEAR DOCKET PAGE